While most little girls dreamed of becoming teachers, actresses, or nurses, Marisol Rivera dreamt of one day becoming a whore. Like a boy who would look in awe at a soldier, Marisol would fixate on prostitutes even when they weren’t working. During the day, whores didn’t look like whores. They looked like every other woman, but not to Marisol.
An off-duty working girl could be walking down the street carrying groceries, and the little girl would stop in her tracks and curiously stare at the woman as if she were looking at two stray dogs humping in the street. Marisol would often get snatched out of her daze by her mother pulling on her hand.
“Let’s go, Marisol,” her mother, Elena would say frustrated that she had to come back to get the six-year-old.
“Who is that lady, mami?” Marisol asked.
“I don’t know,” her mother said, lying. She knew who she was. She knew who they all were. She couldn’t comprehend why every person her daughter became fixated on in the street was a prostitute. Elena handled this like the time Marisol had walked in on her making love to Marisol’s father—she ignored that it ever took place with hopes that Marisol would some day forget all about it.
“What’s a whore, mami?” Marisol asked one day after learning the word from someone at school.
“It’s a woman who brings pleasure to men for money,” Elena said, not sure how to respond.
“It’s her job?”
“Yes, it’s her job.”
“That’s what I want to be when I grow up!”
Frustrated but keeping her composure Elena responded, “Well, that’s impossible. Some day you’ll go to college, and any woman who goes to college does not become a whore.”
“Oh,” Marisol said somewhat disappointed. “What will I be then?”
“You can be anything you want,” Elena said. “Anything but a whore.”
“Can I be a doctor like Papi?”
“Yes!” Elena said, thanking God for intervening.
The end of the conversation brought relief to Elena but not to Marisol, for she did not want to be a doctor. She wanted to be a whore.
As time went on Marisol learned to appease her parents by doing well in school and saying that she wanted to become a doctor all the while taking every opportunity she could to learn about the trade that really interested her.
Pedro, a childhood friend who used to play in the dirt with Marisol, was her first customer. “What could I do to bring you pleasure, Pedro?” Marisol asked as if she was taking notes.
“Maybe bring some chocolate next time we play.”
What does a boy so young know of pleasure? Marisol knew he was not ready. Her research would have to wait. It didn’t take long. One day, Marisol noticed Pedro ogling a pair of bouncing breast as a woman in high heeled shoes walked down the street. Ah ha, Marisol thought.
“How much would you pay to see my chi-chis?” She asked Pedro.
It wasn’t until Marisol grew breasts that she was able to sustain a business of flashing her breasts for twenty-five centavos a show.
As her body developed and the desires of her customers grew, Marisol learned much about being in the business of pleasing men for money. One of the things she learned about members of the opposite sex was that they would pay nearly anything to live out their deepest desires, but that they will only tell you those desires if they trusted you. Marisol was good at getting boys to trust her. She never told anyone’s mother. She never shared anyone’s desires with someone else. And she, herself never got caught, which meant she never had to disclose who her patrons were.
Part of the reason why Marisol’s side business was never discovered was that she was smart enough to know she could not have all that money and not have a good reason for how she obtained it. Being the daughter of a doctor, Marisol had little use for money, though she did enjoy earning it. The church became the benefactor of most of her earnings. It only seemed appropriate being that most of her business took place in the church.
It was this Catholic upbringing that never allowed Marisol to associate being a prostitute with having sex for money. Marisol’s practice allowed her to learn many methods of how to give a man pleasure, but when came to intercourse, that was out of the question. It was, after all, a sin.